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february 2, 2011

I sat down to write tonight, thinking that I was going to use the Daily Post prompt from WordPress.   Our family got a bit of a reprieve tonight, as Ben’s practice got called early.  I know that to all of my new friends around the world, in much colder climates, our measly 35 degrees seems like an early spring; but, for us, that is bitterly cold.  Most Zonies don’t have “winter” coats, and are woefully unprepared for freezing temperatures.  So, we got to head home and snuggled down to read, play on the computer, and listen to the wind blow.

Rather than getting down to brass tacks and getting started with my writing, I putzed around my Google reader, clicked on links from tweets that had been popping up throughout the day, and just got generally distracted.  The problem, if you could call it that, is that all of a sudden, I have all of these blogs to read, and Twitter conversations to keep up with.  It’s easy to wander around from site to site, peeking in on new friends.

Instead of going with a prompt today, I think I’ll just let out the leash a bit, and see where we go.

It’s been a busy couple of days.  I spent all of yesterday conducting open enrollment meetings for a new client.  We did three meetings, and each one was for almost 100 people.  Normally, I spend the run-up to meetings building up a good case of stage fright.  This involves at least one sleepless night, lots of flop-sweat, and I get really blotchy.  Because my producer was going to be leading these meetings, I think that I assumed that I’d just be driving the PowerPoint presentation.  Right before we got started, she told me that she would do a quick intro, and then she’d turn it over to me.  Hmm…

Standing up in front of the crowd…mostly guys, mostly not paying attention, competing to be heard over some sort of very heavy machinery running somewhere outside the building, I channeled my grandfather.  He was a ringmaster for a small circus, and could project across a room like nobody’s business.  I used my “outside” voice, and made sure that every person in that big room could hear me.  I killed!  For the first time in a very long time, I wasn’t nervous.  I didn’t turn red, and I got through everything smoothly.  Even my boss complimented me today, telling me that she had been really impressed. 

It helped to have good news to deliver…we were changing their benefits for the better, at lower rates.  That almost never happens anymore.  So, yea us, for being the guys in the white hats this time.  With most meetings, we are taking away benefits, and raising rates.  THAT’S always a fun meeting.  Nothing like a near riot to make you feel like the Grim Reaper.  In those meetings, there’s always at least one person that will try to heckle you.  They’ll come up with some crazy situation involving a claim for something that should not/would not be covered, and use it to try to stir all of the other employees up.  At that point, you have to find a way to head them off at the pass and defuse the situation.

The best part about meetings like this are the questions that people ask…my favorite question came from a guy that asked if he could list himself as the beneficiary for his life insurance.  “Only if you know something I don’t,” I told him.

The day ended with me sitting in the art room at a faith-based elementary school, waiting for teachers & staff to show up to ask questions for about their insurance renewal.  I sat there for an hour, with the HR gal.  We didn’t see one person.  Unfortunately, this woman is not big on chit-chat.  I would introduce a topic, and she would squash it with a short, dead-end answer.  After several starts & stops, I was running out of things to talk about.  Fortunately, because it was an art room, there were lots of things to look at.  I spent the bigger portion of the hour wandering around, commenting on the various projects/pictures in the room.

And guess what?  I get to spend another hour with her tomorrow!

Aren’t you jealous?